Module 2

Our Shared History

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Overview of Module

This panel explores the shared history between Indigenous nations and the Canadian state as a way to start understanding colonialism as a system that marginalizes and assimilates whole groups of people. A history of Indigenous resistance is woven into this module.

Learning Objectives

You will walk away from this panel with a broader understanding of how we are all connected to our shared history.



Ed Bianchi

Program Manager, KAIROS

Ed has been KAIROS’ Program Manager since 2012. Prior to that, and starting in 2001, he coordinated KAIROS’ Indigenous Rights Program, working with Indigenous Peoples and their allies on innovative public education and action initiatives, in Canada and internationally, towards the recognition and enforcement of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

Ed co-founded Friends of the Lubicon (FOL) in 1986. The Toronto-based support group for the Lubicon Lake Cree First Nation in Alberta launched an international boycott of the Daishowa Paper Mfg. Co. in 1991. It was so successful the company sued. In 1998, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled that the boycott was legal and an example of how information campaigns should be conducted in a democratic society.

Ed’s a hockey and soccer dad who lives in rinks and on pitches in Ottawa with his partner, Nancy, and their children, Graham, Gabriella and Robertson.


Victoria Freeman

Historian and author

Victoria is a Canadian of British settler heritage and is the author of Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America. As an activist, community organizer, writer, public speaker, academic historian and teacher, she seeks to educate herself and facilitate learning for others on decolonization and reconciliation in Canada.

She is a member of First Story Toronto, a community-based history project at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and has been involved in the development of the First Story smartphone app on the Indigenous history of Toronto, as well as an intergenerational oral transmission project called “Indigenous Women, Memory, and Power in Toronto 1960-1990.”

Victoria was also a member of the organizing committee for The Meeting Place: Truth and Reconciliation Toronto 2012, a conference organized by Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, in collaboration with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and other organizations. Previously, she was the founder of Turning Point: Native Peoples and Newcomers On-Line, a website for intercultural dialogue and learning. Her 17-minute interview for 8th Fire, a 2011 CBC Television four-part documentary series on reconciliation in Canada, is posted on the CBC website.


Qwul’sih’yah’maht (Robina Thomas)

Qwul’sih’yah’maht (Robina) is a member of Lyackson First Nation. She is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria. She also holds the interim position of Co-Chair of the First Peoples’ House. Robina has extensive experience in the field of Indigenous studies. Her Master’s thesis focused on Kuper Island Residential School and her PhD. dissertation focused on Indigenous Women and Leadership. Her research interests include: Indigenous women & children, residential schools, storytelling, community engagement and anti-colonial/anti-racist practices as a way of life.


Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle is a Michif (Metis) man from Saskatchewan, Canada. He is the current President of the Aboriginal Students’ Association at York University and is an active member of YorkU’s Pow Wow committee. Scholastically, Jesse has won the William Westfall award for best 3000 level Humanities essay at YorkU, the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Toronto Award, Arthur Francis Williams Award in Canadian Studies, the Morris Krever History Prize and the Desmond Hart Essay Award for best History Essay at YorkU for the 4000 level in 2014. He also has 2 nominations -3000 and 4000 level – for the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Essay Prize for best essay at YorkU for the 2014 year. Jesse had the highest GPA for an undergrad in History in 2013 at York University, holding a GPA of 8.56 and a Major GPA 8.89 (both out of 9 respectively). Jesse is also a member of York University’s Circle of Scholars for two years running and ranks among the top 55 students out of a student body of 50 000—the top .001% of students.

His community work involves understanding and healing the intergenerational trauma that has come to dominate aboriginal society in contemporary times as a result of settler-state colonialism. He does this by applying a historical lens on past trauma and understanding how they affect modern populations. Specifically, his research centers on Metis families in the Parkland Belt of Northern Saskatchewan who descend from Metis veterans of the 1885 Resistance at Batoche. His findings have been presented at numerous conferences (University of Winnipeg, McGill, and YorkU to name a few) where it has been well received and where it has received numerous offers of publication. Lastly, Jesse works with homeless and addiction communities in Toronto, Canada, as he, himself, is a recovering addict who spent many years trapped in the revolving door of homelessness, addiction, and incarceration; all products of colonial trauma manifest in his own life.


Skills for Solidarity is an online education program that will open up a conversation about the shared history between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and ways to renew the relationship between nations. Sign up below and we'll send you an invite to the online panel and the discussion with participants like you.

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